Author Archives: Martin Cothran

Letter from the Editor Summer 2020: Of Books and Beasts

Of Books and Beasts

One of the ways we can understand ourselves better is to look at the metaphors our culture uses. Medieval and ancient peoples drew their comparisons from nature. Today we often look at things in terms of machines or computers. We tell our unmotivated children they need to “get it in gear.” When we forget something […]

How to Teach: Mortimer Adler’s “Three Pillars” Revised

Three Pillars

Mortimer Adler was one of the great contemporary classical thinkers. He was best known for his involvement in the Great Books movement, and more particularly for his editorship of Encyclopedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World series in the 1950s and 1960s. He became the chairman of the board of editors of Encyclopedia Britannica […]

How to Teach Logic

How to teach logic

Every subject that is systematic has a certain inherent order to it that dictates how it should be approached. In some subjects this order is more explicit than others. In mathematics, for example, there is a widely acknowledged sequence in terms of what should be learned and when it should be taught. In other subjects, […]

Letter from the Editor Spring 2020: How to Ride a Bicycle


When I was eight years old, my parents bought me a bicycle for Christmas. It wasn’t anything like my old bicycle, which had only one gear; my new bicycle had five. I couldn’t have told you then why five gears were better than one. To me it was like five pancakes being better than one […]

The Classical Education of the Founding Fathers

Founding Fathers

The Founding Fathers were of varying backgrounds and disparate political beliefs, but they shared two characteristics that distinguished them from other men of their time—and from most men of any time: wisdom and virtue. And it is for this reason, beyond just wanting to become familiar with who they were and what they did, that […]

In Defense of Western Civilization

In Defense of Western Civilization

A couple of summers ago I was part of a panel of classical educators discussing the importance of our Western heritage and the obligation we have of passing it on through the education of our children. The audience of homeschool parents listened attentively, and those of us on the panel answered questions from the audience. […]

Letter from the Editor Winter 2020: The Giant and the Mite

The Giant and the Mite

In Eleanor Farjeon’s The Little Bookroom, there is a fairy tale called “The Giant and the Mite.” It is the story of something so big that it cannot be comprehended—and of something too small to be comprehended. The size of the Giant was the first problem: There was once a Giant who was too big […]

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